New rules of golf for 2014 by the USGA and R&A

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Updated: January 3, 2014

As part of a continuing commitment to provide greater clarity to the Rules of Golf, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and The R&A, golf’s governing bodies, announced revisions to the 2012-2013 edition of “Decisions on the Rules of Golf.” The changes, part of a customary two-year Decisions review cycle, become effective on Jan. 1, 2014.

Amendments To 2012-2013 Edition “Decisions on the Rules of Golf, 2014-2015” contains more than 1,200 entries addressing specific situations under the Rules of Golf. A total of 87 changes have been made to the 2012-2013 Decisions book: three new Decisions, 59 revised Decisions, one re-numbered Decision and 24 Decisions withdrawn.

Among the changes for 2014-2015, four decisions are particularly noteworthy:

New Decision 14-3/18 confirms that players can access reports on weather conditions on a smartphone during a round without breaching the Rules. Importantly, this new Decision also clarifies that players are permitted to access information on the threat of an impending storm in order to protect their own safety.

New Decision 18/4 provides that, where enhanced technological evidence (e.g. HDTV, digital recording or online visual media, etc.) shows that a ball has left its position and come to rest in another location, the ball will not be deemed to have moved if that movement was not reasonably discernible to the naked eye at the time.

Revised Decision 25-2/0.5 helps to clarify when a golf ball is considered to be embedded in the ground through the use of illustrations.

Revised Decision 27-2a/1.5 allows a player to go forward up to approximately 50 yards without forfeiting his or her right to go back and play a provisional ball.

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